Frequency modulations occur in many natural sounds, including vocalizations. The neuronal response to frequency modulated (FM) stimuli has been studied extensively in different brain areas, with an emphasis on the auditory cortex and the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus. Here, we measured the responses to FM sweeps in whole-cell recordings from neurons in the dorsal cortex of the mouse inferior colliculus. Both up- and downward logarithmic FM sweeps were presented at two different speeds to both the ipsi- and the contralateral ear. Based on the number of action potentials that were fired, between 10 and 24% of cells were selective for rate or direction of the FM sweeps. A somewhat lower percentage of cells, 6-21%, showed selectivity based on EPSP size. To study the mechanisms underlying the generation of FM selectivity, we compared FM responses with responses to simple tones in the same cells. We found that if pairs of neurons responded in a similar way to simple tones, they generally also responded in a similar way to FM sweeps. Further evidence that FM selectivity can be generated within the dorsal cortex was obtained by reconstructing FM sweeps from the response to simple tones using three different models. In about half of the direction selective neurons the selectivity was generated by spectrally asymmetric synaptic inhibition. In addition, evidence for direction selectivity based on the timing of excitatory responses was also obtained in some cells. No clear evidence for the local generation of rate selectivity was obtained. We conclude that FM direction selectivity can be generated within the dorsal cortex of the mouse inferior colliculus by multiple mechanisms.
Frontiers in Neural Circuits
Department of Neuroscience